Between 2005 and 2014, smoking rates among pregnant women with depression increased while rates among other groups decreased, according to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
More Pregnant Women with Depression Are Smoking
Researchers analyzed smoking data from more than 8,500 pregnant women who participated in the National Study on Drug Use and Health. This annual cross-sectional survey polls a representative sample of the United States population. The study included data from 2002-2014.
Researchers found a modest decrease in smoking rates among pregnant women without depression—from 12.5% in 2005 to 9.1% in 2014. Among pregnant women with depression, smoking increased—from 35.9% in 2005 to 38.4% in 2014.
Disadvantaged women—including women of color, women with low incomes, and women with lower educational attainment—were more likely to smoke during pregnancy.
Understanding Smoking in Pregnant Women with Depression
Depression during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that a woman will engage in unhealthy behaviors during pregnancy, such as drinking alcohol or not getting adequate nutrition. These behaviors are risk factors for many pregnancy-related issues, including premature birth, giving birth to a baby with a dangerously low birth weight, and having a baby with behavioral issues. In some women, pregnancy can make depression worse or cause depression that was in remission to return.
Although some studies have shown a correlation between antidepressant use during pregnancy and child issues such as autism, others have found no correlation. Pregnant women should know the risks of untreated depression may outweigh any potential risks associated with antidepressants. Women concerned about using antidepressants while pregnant may find relief from therapy, lifestyle changes, and support from loved ones.
- Goodwin, R. D., Cheslack-Postava, K., Nelson, D. B., Smith, P. H., Wall, M. M., Hasin, D. S., . . . Galea, S. (2017). Smoking during pregnancy in the United States, 2005–2014: The role of depression. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.021
- Smoking is on the rise among pregnant women with depression. (2017, August 8). Retrieved from https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/smoking-rise-among-pregnant-women-depression
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